Company News: AstraZeneca and Astra Tech

AstraZeneca has put its Astra Tech dental implant and medical device unit on the block for about $2 billion, various news outlets reported. The sale price reflects 3.4 times the Swedish division's earnings, according to a Reuters report. JP Morgan Chase has been hired to broker the sale. Astra Tech's dental implants, catheters, breathing aids and blood-management systems for surgery brought in about 3.9 billion Swedish crowns ($588 million) last year, and the unit employs around 2,200 staff. As part of its effort to jettison non-core businesses, AZ also seeks to sell a US chain of outpatient cancer centers called Aptium Oncology, which would likely fetch $500 million or less.

A survey of online promotion of drugs to professionals found that more than 150 brands used e-details and online events for the first time in 2010. Amgen's Prolia led the newbies with more than 7,600 online promotional activities during the first nine months of the year, said SDI, which produced the study. Merck's Dulera and AstraZeneca's Vimovo were right behind it with 6,100 and 4,100 activities, respectively. Overall, Merck's Singulair was tops in e-promotion, with 110,000-plus activities for the first nine months of 2010, followed by Pfizer's Pristiq, with 104,000 and Merck's Januvia with 89,000.